Just one moment…

That’s all it takes to completely change the future.

My uncle told me a story today about my grandmother during World War II. It was nearing the end of the war, near the summer of 1945, and she lived in a small village in China with her husband (my grandfather), and his mother (my great-grandmother).  She was 8 months pregnant with my uncle, her first born son. One day, the Japanese soldiers lined up all the villagers and formed a firing squad. They received an order to execute everyone before they left the country for good. She stood there in that line the entire day, probably thinking she was going to die. The commander must have had a soft heart, because they didn’t go through with it and all the soldiers simply vanished the next day. The Japanese surrendered shortly after, and a few months later, she was on a rickety old boat to Hong Kong, clutching her new baby and looking for a better life.

It boggles my mind, the ripple effect of what her being shot would mean.

People often comment on how close I am with my first cousins, they are siblings to me. My aunts and uncles are like secondary parents.   I still remember sitting in my uncle’s old station wagon, with seats in the back so you were staring out at the people behind you.  I remember my aunt scolding me for being impolite and not greeting guests that came over and how I cried because I was embarrassed by my behaviour.  I remember my oldest cousin dutch-ovening me in her basement apartment after she got married and learning what a dutch oven was.  I remember singing a whole new world with another cousin on a dark road and being cut off by our own screams when we almost ran something over. I could go on and on. We are still close to this day, and now their children are my nieces and nephews.

There are three generations alive today proceeding my grandmother. Three generations that would have ceased to exist.

All it took was one moment, one decision, and I’m sitting here writing this blog post.

Peace out, funk out!

Things I’ve done in the past week:

  • Came up with a bunch of new products
  • Setup a true e-commerce website (check it out: http://luuee.com)
  • Turned off my antivirus and installed a whole metric shit ton of malware forcing me to reformat and reinstall windows on my PC
  • Hit a jump shot throwing a tissue into the waste basket

I think it’s safe to say I’m out of my rut, and it feels wonderful. My brain is all wired and I’m accomplishing a lot of tasks. I don’t really want to sleep these days because I don’t want to lose momentum! The ideas aren’t revolutionary, rather, they’re simple and minimal designs that represent my brand and make the products more cohesive. Overall, I’m happy with the turn out.

I spoke at the beginning of the year about being more thoughtful and having a vision, and I think as we round into the tail end of the year I’m realizing what that means. I’ve been watching a couple of videos on SkillShare about building your social media base, and they all talk about having a story and setting goals about what you want to share in your posts. They suggest showing your progress on projects and behind the scenes shots. I’ve always been hesitant with sharing too much, and that’s probably a symptom of my introversion. This will require some serious think tanking on my part, as I’ve just been going along blindly with Instagram and not really understanding why some things work and others don’t.

It will be an interesting next project, amidst building inventory for the upcoming fall season.

But that’s okay because we’re back baby! All new challenges accepted!

The First Sad Shower of 2017

2017 has been a funny year so far. Not funny ha-ha, but more like a ‘hey that smells kinda funny’.

My grandmother passed away in the spring. I was lucky enough to know all of my grandparents growing up. She was the last one to go, and with her passing, the link to my childhood seemed to vanish. It was a deep sadness of not only losing someone I loved dearly, but a knowing that all of our cherished moments had truly ended and are reduced to memories in old photographs. It was a knowing that I’d never be able to recreate them with grandchildren of my own, that my future would be vastly different from what she experienced.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk since then, and can’t seem to find inspiration for something new and creative. I believe it’s the lackluster state of the world as well that is also impeding me, for there is a lot of tragedy and worrisome events happening that have taken the lead and occupied my mind.

Forget about funny. Incredulous is a better word to describe 2017. Incredulous that humans are still as cruel as they are. I’m not even sure what benefit we gain from being mean-spirited, but there it is, fueled by hatred. I wish that people could understand and respect the fact that there are different situations and different lives that people lead. That there are a lot more unfortunate in the world than fortunate, and by turning our backs on them, we turn our backs on humanity. Life is fleeting, and death is unprejudiced. Giving people their human rights doesn’t mean that we are taking away others. Being curious and gaining knowledge is a good thing for us!

I want to get out of this funk, and I want the world to join me.  We have the capacity to love, learn, and be compassionate. We don’t have to let ourselves be driven by fear.

I can’t build those moments that I cherished with my grandmother for myself, but I would like to hope my nieces and nephews can.

Please, try to think about what it really means to love. I want this funk to go away, and for all of us to be better.

Artsy fart time and other prudent discoveries

I am not sure why it’s so important for me to define what I want to happen in 2017, but I feel like there is a very visible line in between today and tomorrow. Perhaps it has to deal with the fact that I felt I was aimlessly walking through 2016, just letting shit happen randomly, and that I want to buckle down for them roosters that will be cock-a-doodling at my door in the next year.

One goal I have in mind is to be more thoughtful in some of the products I make. I’ll still keep my current product line, but I think it is equally important for me to do some think-tanking and be artistic. Using my design philosophies of simplicity, whimsy, and trying  to reduce the amount of waste I create (this is coming from a girl who regularly poops two to three times a day), I feel like that will challenge and inspire me to keep going and not let Luuee stagnate. As a result, one of my resolutions for 2017 is to make sure I set aside one week per month to work on something new. It might be horrendous and make me question my abilities, but a little humbling never hurts.

I also want to start connecting some other philosophies in my work. I have been agnostic probably since I was a teen, but I devoted quite some time in university studying religions and I paid a little more attention to Buddhism just because I figured it was something that I could get on board with for every day life. It followed that I spent a significant amount of my twenties agonizing over compassion. How was it possible that you let go of everything, all your desires and needs, but still keep compassion? When I finally asked my uncle about this, he said that this was the struggle that it takes to reach Nirvana, the tipping point between getting there and failing miserably. If these guys can’t figure it out, heck if I have any chance. In any event, I’ve always felt it a failing in me that I am not more compassionate. Going forward, I will try to design things that connect these ideas, as well as my culture. With the way the world is going, I think now is the time to stand up and showcase what you believe in and fight for it.

That is the artsy part.

The fartsy covers all other aspects of my personality. A solid 85% of my chemical make up is sarcasm, so you’re probably going to see that come through in my work as well.

Happy new year everyone, I hope you’ll try with me to be a better version of yourself in 2017.

 

A Year In Review

2017 is going to be a lot less careless than 2016, so I thought I’d do a perspective on the things I did, and what I learned.

First and foremost, the handmade community is great. There are a lot of incredibly talented and awesome people being entrepreneurs, and every craft show I go to where I get to meet these people really humbles me and makes me want to be better. I mean, you cast doubt on my own abilities each time because you’re hella creative so I hate that, but I’m grateful for the push! It also helps to have good booth neighbours that keep you sane when you’re outside freezing your ass off, trying to elevator pitch a few people into why they should buy your product. It’s been a week since my last outdoor show and I can still feel the cold.

I have learned that working for yourself, by yourself, can be lonely. I’m an introvert, but that just means I like to socialize on my own terms and not that I don’t like being around people. I went from interacting with co-workers every day, to talking to myself (just to hear a voice) until Brian came home.  So I took a chance and offered to help out with the Etsy York Region group and became the Facebook admin. It’s a great team, and I like having an obligation to do something outside of my own work. It was still a solitary job though, and there was one day in September where the loneliness really set in and I panicked about what I had done to get here.  I think it was fate that I was feeling this way, because as I scrolled through FB there was an ad to volunteer at the zoo and the deadline was about two weeks out. I decided to apply, and here I am, an official Panda Ambassador. If you’re ever at the Toronto Zoo on a Tues or Wed morning, come by and I’ll teach you what I know about Pandas!

Time management has also been a lesson learned when running your own business. The amount of time it takes to take pictures, edit them, and post items on your shop is shocking! Not to mention the actual sewing of items. It also doesn’t help that I am the world’s slowest seamstress. I sew for two minutes, get bored, and watch a Netflix show. If you own a Luuee product, just know that the overall labour time was astounding, and you’re paying for true dedication!

I’ve done a few pop-up markets, some much better than others, and found it’s really luck of the draw when it comes to how successful you will be at a show. I have learned what seasons my items sell better, and what to promote more at certain shows. Overall though, I feel like my online shop will be my main focus as it generates the most business. How great is it that something like Etsy is around so that you can reach an audience all over the world with your handmade items?

I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is to not compromise on quality and workmanship. I’ve become a much better seamstress and the products are better made now than at the beginning of the year. Also, I get a lot of anxiety when I screw something up, and have learned it’s just not worth the headache. Might as well spend that extra 30 seconds going over your items before you package them up over wanting to rip your heart out later.

What’s to come for 2017? I spent this year goofing around without a real purpose. In 2017, I plan to set goals and projected targets. Someone suggested I do a three-year rolling plan, which I think is a great idea. It’s still an awesome journey for me, and I love being creative. Let’s hope that when I file my taxes it doesn’t ruin my want to be a self starter, and that the next year is even better.

To my family and friends, your support means everything to me. If my sarcasm and crotchety behavior aren’t proof enough of how much I appreciate you (BRIAN), then I solemnly swear to be much worse in the new year. I hope you’re ready.